“NRF Reports Retail Shrink Nearly a $100B Problem” by Daniel Inman via National Retail Federation

“NRF Reports Retail Shrink Nearly a $100B Problem” by Daniel Inman via National Retail Federation

WASHINGTON – Retail shrink, when taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2021, accounted for $94.5 billion in losses last year, up from $90.8 billion in 2020, according to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey released today by the National Retail Federation. Organized retail crime (ORC), a critical component of that shrink, is a growing challenge both for retailers and the industry at large. “The factors contributing to retail shrink have multiplied in recent years, and ORC is a burgeoning threat within the retail industry,” NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said. “These highly sophisticated criminal rings jeopardize employee and customer safety and disrupt store operations. Retailers are bolstering security efforts to counteract these increasingly dangerous and aggressive criminal activities.”    The survey found that the average shrink rate in 2021 was 1.44%, a slight decrease from the last two years but comparable to the five-year average of 1.5%. The majority of retailers report that in-store, ecommerce and omnichannel fraud have risen. Violence is a growing area of concern and retailers are prioritizing addressing guest-on-associate violence, external theft and ORC. The COVID-19 pandemic created more challenges for retailers. A large majority (87.3%) of respondents said the pandemic resulted in an increase in overall risk for their organization. Retailers specifically cited an increase in violence (89.3%), shoplifting (73.2%), ORC and employee theft (tied at 71.4%) as a result of the pandemic. Retailers reported a 26.5% increase in ORC, on average. Even more alarming, the vast majority (81.2%) said the violence and aggression associated with ORC increased in the past year. Research shows that ORC groups...
“Retail braces for the second half of the year, as cautious shoppers pay more but get less” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

“Retail braces for the second half of the year, as cautious shoppers pay more but get less” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Banoart/depositphotos.com Dive Brief: In the segments tracked by Retail Dive, retail sales in June rose 7.7% year over year, as e-commerce regained some momentum with a 20.6% rise, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.The gains are undermined by record inflation of 9.1%, reported the same week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Consumer sentiment remains near all-time lows and wariness around prices is enduring despite some relief at the gas pump, although inflation expectations may be improving, according to a report from the University of Michigan released Friday. Dive Insight: A nearly 8% jump in retail sales year over year would usually be good news for the industry, but this report requires a specialized lens: Higher prices mean consumers are spending more, but getting less. That’s leading households to prioritize essentials like fuel and food over discretionary purchases, as seen during Amazon’s Prime Day sale. “Total growth continues to run a little way below inflation which indicates, broadly, that volumes are in negative territory,” GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said in emailed comments. “In simple terms, consumers did not buy more stuff in June — they bought less product but paid more for it. This is not a comfortable position as it makes consumers feel downbeat, which is one of the reasons confidence is sliding.” June’s retail sales rise does show that consumers so far “are powering through price pressures,” Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement, noting, however, that “inflation is eating away at savings built up during the pandemic and is wiping out recent income gains.” The situation is especially challenging for consumers already struggling to make...
“Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department” by Daphne Howland and Caroline Jansen via Retail Dive

“Monthly retail sales from the US Commerce Department” by Daphne Howland and Caroline Jansen via Retail Dive

Photo Illustration: Shaun Lucas/Industry Dive; Getty Images The department’s Census Bureau tracks estimates each month. Retail Dive provides the numbers for key segments, and their year-over-year progress, or decline. Editor’s Note: Comparisons for individual segments are updated each month to reflect the government’s revisions to its year ago figures. A full methodology for how Retail Dive tracks retail sales figures is included at the bottom of this page. Every month, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, releases its first calculation of the previous month’s retail sales. At Retail Dive, we report these figures by grouping the key segments that define “retail” in a way that we hope is most meaningful to the industry. We use unadjusted, advance numbers and year-over-year comparisons, with the government’s most recent revisions to its year-ago estimates. And although we of course include e-commerce, captured in the federal report as “nonstore retailers,” readers will note that the government includes sales from businesses not generally thought of as “e-commerce.” YoY sales performance by sector Monthly retail sales How key retail sales fared year over year Total sales+8%Non-store+21%Furniture & home+2%Sporting goods, hobby, bookstores0%General merchandise-1%Clothing & accessories-3%Electronics & applicances-10%Retail Dive calculates “total retail sales” of core segments, as well as what the Commerce Department calls “Nonstore retailers.” That includes e-commerce, mail order and infomercials, but also revenue from subsectors not generally considered traditional retail, including vending machines, home delivery (including newspapers and home heating oil), door-to-door solicitation, in-home demonstrations and portable stalls like non-food street vendors. Year-over-year comparisons use the most recent revisions to estimates; year-to-date numbers use only advanced numbers. Data from U.S. Census Bureau, Advanced Monthly...
“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

“Retailers scale back hiring as worry about a slowdown grows” by Anne D’Innocenzio and Haleluya Hadero via Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — After going on a frenzied hiring spree for a year and a half to meet surging shopper demand, America’s retailers are starting to temper their recruiting. The changing mindset comes as companies confront a pullback in consumer spending, the prospect of an economic downturn and surging labor costs. Some analysts suggest that merchants have also learned to do more with fewer workers. The nation’s top employer, Walmart, said it recently over-hired because of a COVID-related staffing shortage and then reduced its head count through attrition. In April, Amazon said it, too, had decided that it had an excess of workers in its warehouses. And FedEx, whose customers include big retailers, said late last month that it was hiring fewer people. In addition, new data shows that retailers in recent months have been scaling back sign-on bonuses and are no longer relaxing job requirements — a sign that they no longer feel compelled to expand their applicant pool, according to the labor analytics company Lightcast. And Snagajob, an online marketplace for hourly work, reports that job postings in retailing have been slowing in the past couple of months, though they remain up from a year ago. Retailers “are going to take a conservative view of what’s possible and what’s necessary, because the price they will pay for being wrong will be minimum if they run out of goods and don’t have enough staff, and massive if they wind up with an inventory glut and they have too many people employed,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University and a former CEO of Sears Canada. The...
“March Retail Sales Grew Despite Higher Inflation” by J. Craig Shearman via National Retail Federation

“March Retail Sales Grew Despite Higher Inflation” by J. Craig Shearman via National Retail Federation

“We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty.”NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay WASHINGTON – Retail sales grew in March even as inflation edged higher, the National Retail Federation said today.“March retail sales show that consumers have maintained their ability to spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and geopolitical unrest,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their families. We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty if policymakers implement measured policies and do not overreact to current conditions.”“While prices soared in March and eroded spending power, shoppers remained resilient and sales were healthy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers have the willingness to spend and their ability to do so has been supported by rapid hiring, increased wages, larger-than-usual tax refunds and the use of credit. They are largely dealing with the shock of gas prices but will be facing higher interest rates as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy in the coming months. The challenge for the Fed is to cool off demand without pushing the economy into a dramatic slowdown.”The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in March were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from February and up 6.9 percent year over year. That compared with increases of 0.8 percent month over month and 18.2 percent year over year in February. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year over year every month since May 2020, according to Census data.NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile...
“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

Photo: RetailWire Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion, is a summary of  Steve Dennis’ recent Forbes article. Steve is President & Founder of SageBerry Consulting and a senior Forbes Contributor. He is the author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption. The U.S. Commerce Department released its monthly retail sales report Friday morning and, within minutes, my social media feed lit up with gloom and doom takes on the alleged sorry state of shopping. Various outlets ran negative headlines suggesting sales in December had dropped precipitously. Much of the reporting focused on results coming in “below expectations.” There is so much wrong in all of this. As a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers and a consultant/analyst for 30 years, I’m hard pressed to name one person whom I respect who pays much attention to month-over-month numbers. What we focus on is the year-over-year numbers (and more recently, because of COVID, the so-called two-year stack). Depending on which definition of retail you prefer (some exclude auto, gasoline and/or restaurant revenues), sales were up between 14 and 19 percent year-over-year — much higher than average and a record for the month. Then there is this whole expectation thing. I, for one, fully expected December to be lower than November — and so did most other folks in retail I talk to. Why? It’s been obvious supply chain concerns and earlier retailer promotions pulled a lot of holiday sales into October and November. Oh, there’s also a little thing called the Omicron surge. To be sure, there are reasons for concern. Inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, likely higher...